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The Spirit of Heroism is the essence of the GK Communities.

On the May 29 Episode of Kwentong GK, Mr. Tony Olaes, a well-respected Filipino American businessman based in San Diego, California, explained what Bayanihan means. He said that it means people coming together. He also shared that later on, someone further broke it down for him, Bayan means country and Bayani means hero so Bayanihan is coming together for the greater good of the nation. Bayanihan is the spirit of heroism.

Bayanihan spirit is very much alive in the Gawad Kalinga Villages. It is the essence of the GK community that allows them to care for each other and share whatever they can for the greater good of their community.

1. All throughout the pandemic, many of our GK Communities have been conducting village clean up. Young and old come together to preserve the cleanliness of the community and remove any potential breeding ground for diseases. GK Washington State in Tiaong Quezon, GK North California in Bagong Silang, Caloocan, GK Sikad-Village of Light in Sariaya, Quezon, Seafood City GK Village 3 in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental are just a few of the GK Communities who engage in regular village clean-ups.

2. The youth and community leaders of GK Washington State Village in Tiaong, Quezon Province dressed in traditional Filipino women’s costumes came together to pay homage to the rich Filipino cultural heritage.

3. In a world so divided in perception and beliefs, it is truly a welcome change to see community members of various age and gender working together in true bayanihan fashion to build a temporary Multi-Purpose Hall in Antonia Villaflor GK Community, Bgy Lamak, Hilongos, Leyte.

4. Out of the difficult situation of this pandemic rose a greater fellowship among the GK village residents. In some of the GK villages, the residents are engaging in gardening and planting vegetables in usable land within their area. Families have started to plant vegetables in their own backyards. The GK Community leaders have rallied their neighbors to come together and find a sustainable food source so the community gains food security.

Donabel Armado, a Sibol teacher and resident of GK Mayao Village, Bicol Region said, “Pag may itinamim, may aanihin. (When you plant, you have something to harvest.)”

Caryl Mae Kilat, Andrade from GK Pastor Village, Talay, Dumaguete shared the same insight, “As we are facing this pandemic Covid-19, planting in our village helps our life easier than before because we can just get the food without paying or buying cause it’s for free.”

The Bayanihan spirit goes beyond the village. In GK CM & Son’s Village in Bagong Silang, Caloocan, Rein Mon, one of a villagers posted “This is the home of one of our members. Our plan is to make this the center of our community garden of CM & Sons so that it will solve the problem of food shortage. When we organized a community pantry, we buy the product of the nearby farmers so that we can help them.”

Community Gardens are spawning everywhere. Divine Mercy GK Community Donghol, Ormoc City, Leyte, Luzsant GK Village in Porac, Pampanga and GK Washington State.

In Maasin City, GK Southern Leyte celebrated its 18th anniversary by planting mangrove and care for mother earth.

Covid-19 may have been one of the world’s most dreaded disease. This pandemic is this generation’s greatest disruptor but it has also been its greatest driver that brought forth resilience and Bayanihan spirit among the Filipinos worldwide, especially the ones at home. It really showed us that even if you come from the poorest of the poor, when you are cared for, you can become empowered to thrive in the most uncertain times.

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